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20 August, 2019

How to Create Hotel Management System: Trends, Technologies, Cost

Want to run a hotel on your own? A quality property management software program will save you lots of time and money. In this article, we advise prospective hoteliers on how to bring new digital solutions to their business. Keep reading!

Want to become a hotel owner? Excellent! Start thinking about hotel management software development. As more customers, especially millennials and Generation Z, prefer online bookings, hoteliers should be prepared to deal properly with the increase of this type of consumer activity.

In this article, we will tell you about the extensive benefits of hotel management systems software as well as our experience of making an innovative property database – just keep reading.

Main trends of hotel management software and hospitality industry

The hotel industry doesn’t stand still. The recent years of this business area’s evolution established some main directions for the development of such software:

1. Mobile app domination

Today, everything goes mobile. More and more travelers use smartphones for their journeys: Booking research says that 50% of people begin their travel on mobile devices. All generations of guests and hoteliers are fascinated by mobile hotel apps. For example:

  • millennials prefer mobile check-in with now queues around reception;
  • generation Z plans trips for parents online;
  • A business owner can make a positive impression on visitors with a mobile app that has a mobile room key or allows ordering services to the room;
  • employees reduce their routine work.

2. Personalized experience

That is the case when making things personal works. It became another overall trend for every software. Knowing customers’ names, offering them relevant content about travels, welcoming, and farewell emails - those are the simplest examples of how you can personalize the experience. This strategy will increase customer loyalty and engagement, which, in its turn, will make more revenue.

Also, employees who use hotel management systems for their inside processes can customize their profiles and talk to each other via chats. It will make the team more coherent and linked.

3. Data security

The final tech trend that applies to hotel software is the need for data protection. Hotels and restaurants now rely on data more than ever before and everyone wants this data to be safe and sound. It will help business support their reputation and customer will trust them more willingly.

Ransomware, phishing, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are the most popular ways for hackers to access personal information. Also, we shouldn’t forget about human error. That is why data security is a top priority for a hotel management system, so it can react to those acts adequately.

Advantages of hotel management software development

It offers numerous benefits to business owners:

Increases personalization

Personalization has been among the major keys to a business's success in recent years as it tends to increase brand loyalty. Indeed, even small hospitality actions, such as sending birthday greetings or serving guests with a preferred type of coffee, engage customer loyalty. With custom hotel management software, hotels can do a lot of cool stuff such as providing electronic city maps and guides to their guests, sending welcome emails, birthday greetings, and newsletters, running loyalty programs, and many others. All of this inevitably raises the personalization level.

Provides flawless room service and creates a less formal atmosphere

A custom hotel property management system will significantly improve the automation of such routine tasks as room check-ins and check-outs, room readiness notifications, ordering special services, reserving places at restaurants, and others. As the human interaction between hotel staff and guests will substantially decrease, this will eventually create a less formal atmosphere that is particularly appreciated by millennials and Generation Z customers. Moreover, the increased automation of room service will certainly reduce the possible staff mistakes that always lead to potential conflicts and misunderstandings.

Reduces staff members' mundane routines

In addition, custom hotel management software will reduce many of the daily routines performed by staff members. As a result, hotel staff members can be redirected into doing more creative tasks, such as improving special services and guest catering. Moreover, the automation of routine tasks might also save costs on additional staff members.

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Improves data control and safety

Do you still keep your documentation in Excel or on paper? In the modern world, this can be dangerous, as Excel files are prone to hacking, and paper documents might be easily destroyed as well. With custom hotel management software, you can store all of the information about guests in the electronic system, integrated with a CRM. You will be in full control of all the very sensitive information with minimal risk of data hacking or loss. Apart from that, you will always manage to provide quick updates on rooms’ availability and pictures.

Improves data collection

Knowing the preferences of your guests is a major step toward improving personalization. Information about guests, such as their purpose of stay, room choice, ordered room services, favorite drinks, payment details, and total spending, might be useful for both tailor-made guest offers and inner marketing research. With custom hotel management software, you can easily drag various statistics reports in PDFs and apply them in your daily activities.

For example, once you know that your VIP guests spent lots of money in the hotel restaurant last time, staff members can book places for them in advance upon their next arrival. Other guests can be greeted with their favorite cappuccino. In fact, regular statistics reports about guests’ behavior might say a lot about the actual state of your hotel service and thereby provide tips for improvement.

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Custom hotel management software program vs ready-made solution

Statistics also prove that the hospitality industry strongly relies on digital technologies. According to Socialtables, about 92% of hotel guests carry smartphones, while about 40% of them already use hotel apps for a range of services. Moreover, approximately 74% of hotel guests surveyed were willing to join customized hotel loyalty programs, receive tailor-made email offers as well as share their adding data such as gender and age.

Therefore, obtaining a hotel management system for your business definitely sounds like a good idea. Such software will automate numerous daily operations, including reservations, and provide quick updates on the available room space for bookings.

Eventually, you may decide to obtain a ready-made hotel management system or buy a custom hotel management software program. Both solutions are suitable and both have some notions to consider.

A ready-made hotel management system can be useful if you need:

  • a quick all-in-one solution for your business
  • an easily scalable and highly secure system
  • a low-cost yet functional software
  • a guaranteed technical support

At the same time, it may lack some useful features or, on the contrary, possess too many irrelevant modules that do not necessarily fit your business needs.

A tailor-made hotel management system will suit you better if you want to:

  • have more control over all the data
  • create a more personalized experience
  • have a more flexible software
  • make a better promotion campaign

But keep in mind that this will cost you more than implementing a ready-made solution will take more resources to maintain.

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Hotel management software features

Although custom hotel management systems largely depend on the needs of a particular hotel or hotel chain, there are certain basic features or modules that which they typically contain: reservation module, guests’ management elements, staff management elements, and analytical features.

Reservation module

Usually, customers begin their first interaction with a hotel via a reservation. Therefore, a reservation module within a custom management system provides hotel staff members with customers’ reservation details such as check-in and check-out dates, number of guests, room preferences, and others. A reservation module typically includes some sort of a booking engine, property listings with photos/descriptions/rates, and a channel manager.

While a booking engine processes booking data, channel manager synchronizes reservations from multiple channels such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor.com, and others. It is of crucial importance to spend enough time creating quality property listings and providing customers with accurate information on what they should expect from a hotel.

CRM and guest management elements

A custom hotel management software program safely stores all of the information about guests, such as contacts, room details, room orders, payment methods, etc. In addition, the guests’ management module sends all types of notifications as well as electronic bills and invoices to customers.

Staff management elements

As hotel managers are incredibly busy people, they often devote plenty of their work time to interaction with employees, such as contacting them about daily tasks or scheduling days off. A well-designed custom hotel management system automates numerous daily staff interactions, such as tasks delivery, progress tracking, attendance monitoring, distributing shifts, assigning days off, etc.

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Back-office management

This module will help facilitate inside administrative hotel operations. Possible functionality may include:

  • Event management
  • Catering
  • Spa and gym management
  • Hotel spendings reports
  • Promotional campaigns
  • Reviews management
  • Online payments

Analytical features

Analytical features within a hotel management software program are of incredible importance to achieving business success. No matter whether you are a small hotel owner or run a giant hotel chain, you still need a thorough tracking of an overall performance and finance matters. A well-designed property management system usually contains a revenue manager and report aggregator.

Apart from tracking income and expenses, a revenue manager calculates prices based on competitors’ offers, analyzes customer behavior and a hotel’s market position, and monitors the effectiveness of the selling channels. A report aggregator arranges different sets of hotel data (for example, room categories sold, monthly revenues, guests behavior, and others) into readable comprehensive materials.

Major steps on hotel management software development

Hotel management system development presumes the same standard process as with any other software: planning, testing, and deployment. A typical development team should at a minimum include a back-end developer, business analyst, front-end developer, project manager, and UI/UX designer. Usually, it takes 4-6 months to develop a custom hotel management software demo version.

At the same time, there are several distinct considerations for this type of software that you should follow:

1. Design

Pay attention to the interface. Avoid any complexities, as it should be easy to use for a hotel’s staff members. Furthermore, the interface should go in line with the best contemporary trends of modern design.

2. Functionality

Now, define what list of functions you want your future solution to have. Do you need a full set with all the possible integrations so each process in the hotel would be digitalized or start from a simple optimization in one of the areas, like booking or staff management?

3. Choosing a partner

There are several essential factors to pay attention to while choosing a partner: team’s experience, staff count, location, hourly rate. The team should have enough relevant experience and easily grasp the business needs of your project.

4. Tech stack and APIs

First, check the integration of all the necessary APIs into the expected property management system. It is of crucial importance that your development company provides appropriate integration services to all the systems already used by the hotel. Otherwise, you may require additional technical support.

Second, ensure that you have permanent access to 24/7 technical support, as it is crucial for the dynamic hotel industry. A small mistake in a property listing can cost you dozens of clients in this ultra-competitive environment! Therefore, hotel service shouldn’t be affected by any incidents with software. A good idea would be to set up all the issues related to technical support in the contract agreement with your development company.

Third, think about employing cloud solutions as you don’t need to pay the maintenance fees for them. Moreover, cloud software generally provides better system integration and is constantly updated.

5. Testing

The choice of testing options is immense and sometimes scary: unit tests, load tests, smoke tests, acceptance tests and so many more. And don’t forget about manual and A/B testing. Your chosen partner should help you with applying the necessary testing to make the release of your product flawless.

6. Launch and support

Everything is finished and double-checked, so it’s time to deploy. But don’t think the work is over: now you and your team are starting working on feedbag and bug fixing.

Hotel management system software requirements

The core characteristics of good hotel software are stability, scalability, security, and user-friendliness. All these can be provided with the help of a correctly built tech stack with trusted third-party integrations.

Technologies stack

Here is a possible set of tools for a fast and scalable hotel management system:

  • Back-end: Ruby on Rails, RSpec, Firebase
  • Job scheduler: Sidekiq
  • Search engine: Elasticsearch
  • Framework: Express
  • Infrastructure: Amazon Web Services
  • Database: Redis, MySQL
  • Front-end: React, Redux

Third-party integrations

Most third-party integrations will also depend on the functionality you want your software to perform. The most popular add-ons for the hospitality industry will include:

  • Credit card processing: SlimCD, NAB Credit Card, Xcharge
  • Door lock: ADEL, Inhova
  • Fingerprint reader: DigitalPersona, ZKSoftware
  • SMS notification: Twilio, BulkSMS
  • Payment gateway: Stripe, PayPal, and Braintree

How much does it cost to build a hotel management system?

The required functionality is one of the core factors for structuring a development budget. An efficient hotel management software (including a mobile app) can cost you up to 1,500 hours of work. The financial costs will also depend on your partner’s hourly rate and team size.

Note: please keep in mind that the estimation of the costs and tech stack is approximate. You can get more accurate numbers by providing us with your project’s specifications.

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Our experience

Our team has proudly worked with partners from the UAE to create a hotel management system called “Hotel Data Cloud”.

At present, Hotel Data Cloud is the only hotel database that hosts large amounts of attractive properties’ photos and allows its customers to manage descriptions in multiple languages as well as regularly add new premises to various booking sites. The use of multilingual descriptions combined with regular updates substantially raises properties’ visibility to potential clients.

A great feature of Hotel Data Cloud is that hotel owners have full 24/7-hour control over their property listings on third-party websites. As soon as they provide updates on their property, for instance on parking places, breakfast times, or check-in times, those changes get immediately distributed across all the listed booking platforms. As a result, hotels’ guests always know what to expect.

hotel data cloud

Moreover, with Hotel Data Cloud, customers can simultaneously update their property details on thousands booking channels with a single click. The automation of content distribution has already saved thousands of hours for our clients that previously had to upload all of the information manually to every distribution channel. By doing so, not only were they redusing efficiency, but they also risked occasionally providing incorrect information. On the contrary, with automated content distribution, our customers could devote more time to catering their guests, and thereby raising personalization.

Finally, Hotel Data Cloud helps distribute hotels’ content to a wide range of constantly expanding channels, including booking engines, tour operators and travel agencies. In case our client is not represented on particular distribution channels, we make sure that their contents appear there as soon as possible.

hotel data cloud hotel management software

Final thoughts

As the hospitality industry is increasingly relying on digital solutions, soon ambitious and savvy hotel businesses will start to think of how to create a hotel management system. Indeed, such software brings numerous benefits, including routine tasks automation, improved personalization, and flawless interaction with customers. Moreover, it is simple to use for hotel staff due to graphic design.

In case you decide to build a hotel property management system, you will get full control over sensitive data, e.g. customers’ personal details. In addition, you will manage to provide instant property updates, including available room pictures and descriptions. Normally, developers will provide you with custom-made on-demand features, so that there’s no need to pay for unnecessary modules. Therefore, custom hotel management software looks like a smart deal!

Read next:

How to Make a Social Media App: Tech stack, Features, and Costs

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